Government shamelessly use veterans as a wedge in budget: Hughes

Ottawa – The government is cynically attempting to use veterans as a wedge to garner support for their pre-election budget despite years of inaction, says Algoma-Manitoulin-Kapuskasing MP, Carol Hughes.


Hughes says the government should remove the items related to Veterans from the budget so that MPs can quickly pass them on their own merits, but recognizes that the plan is to try and trick people into forgetting a decade of penny pinching at the expense of Veterans and their families.


“Whether they serve at home, in war, or on peacekeeping missions these individuals distinguish themselves with professionalism and honour at every turn,” said Hughes. “Sadly, that hasn’t been reflected in the actions of our government who has set out to nickel and dime veterans while somehow convincing themselves they are being nothing but supportive.”


Hughes says the government is hiding from its own past and is hoping Canadians will not remember that they have left injured and disabled veterans no option but to fight their own government in court for the compensation and care they deserve.  


“They would rather fight for budget lines than fight for our Veterans,” said Hughes.   “We have seen that time and again. It is reflected in the fact that the Conservatives have cut more than 900 jobs from Veterans Affairs since 2009.”


Hughes says that most Canadians would be shocked to learn how Veterans have been treated by the government and would not approve of the way that they are being used as political fodder just in time for a federal election.


“The government is playing games with the budget now - at the very last minute,” said Hughes. “They know in their heart of hearts that they have made life more difficult for Veterans and hope that their cynical budget shell game will fool enough people into believing them, but it is too late.”


Carol Hughes’ speech was made during debate on Monday.  The NDP motion was passed by parliament Tuesday evening.  New Democrats welcomed Conservative support of the motion, but want to see the government stop fighting Veterans in the courts and to follow through with the content of the motion.